Sue Symington smiling and the text 'As I see it - the latest blog from Sue Symington'

As I see it: The latest blog from Sue Symington

The recent announcement that the NHS will be stepping down the COVID-19 incident marks a significant milestone as we continue to respond to the pandemic and its lasting impact.

This very welcome news provides an opportunity to reflect on what has been a challenging three years and to celebrate our work during this period.

Humber and North Yorkshire became the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK. The first cases UK cases were identified in York and the infectious diseases ward at Castle Hill Hospital in East Yorkshire played a crucial role in their treatment.

There are three key topics which I have picked out that were vital in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Swift action was taken to establish test sites across the country. These sites enabled the testing of health and care staff, as well as other key workers, ensuring the continuous function of vital local services. In our region sites at Humber Bridge and Poppleton Bar in York were amongst the first to be established.

Frontline health and social care staff had to show great versatility and adapted very quickly. This included using digital solutions in many cases and significantly transforming services to allow them to resume safely and efficiently. Both patients and professionals adapted to these changes, demonstrating remarkable patience throughout the process.

The efforts of hundreds of colleagues, partners and volunteers led to the successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. Our commitment to safeguarding the most vulnerable members of our population meant that the first doses of the vaccine were quickly followed with second doses and booster vaccinations.

If there was to be a fourth thing to pick out, it would likely be recovering. However, this is ongoing as we continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic, addressing things such as elective care backlogs and financial challenges.

Whilst challenges do still lie ahead, I want to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude to all our colleagues across Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership. Your hard work and dedication in responding to the pandemic has been truly remarkable.

As we celebrate the stepping down of the COVID-19 incident, let us continue to support one another and work together to build a healthier, more resilient future for our communities.